Letter: Mammon triumphs over human rights

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The Independent Online
Sir: You mentioned Danielle Mitterrand's protest at the tyrannical behaviour of Indonesia over the international human rights conference in Manila (report, 31 May). Last week, Mairead Maguire, the Irish Nobel Peace Prize-winner, was deported from the Philippines and Bishops Aloisius Soma of Japan and Hilton Deakin of Australia, and 25 others, risk the same fate if they attempt to participate. The conference on East Timor is subject to a 'temporary restraining order' from a Manila court.

Together with President Clinton's decision to place trade above human rights in China, these actions by the Philippines government represent another surrender before economic power. They bode ill for the future of the Asia-Pacific region as the idol of the market is placed above international pressure against human rights violations. The post-Cold War emphasis in the North on human rights and democracy is simply not credible in the face of such blatant appeasement of major human rights violators such as Indonesia and China.

Yours sincerely,


General Secretary,

Catholic Institute for

International Relations

London, N1